Civil Liberties

Apartheid Wall in Arizona? Israeli Company Contracted to Build U.S.-Mexico Border Fence

The company behind the West Bank separation wall was awarded a $145 million contract to further militarize the border.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Ryan Rodrick Beiler

This week, the Israeli company Elbit Systems Ltd. announced that its subsidiary won a contract from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection to produce and install surveillance systems along the U.S.-Mexico border. The company is famous for providing "intrusion detection systems” and other infastructure support for the Israeli West Bank barrier.

The subsidiary was awarded a $145 million contract for a project called the Integrated Fixed Tower (IFT), which is to be built on the Mexico-Arizona border over the next year. The contract also guarantees eight years of infrastructure support from Elbit Systems.

The project outlines the construction of an undisclosed number of observation towers at the border by Nogales, Arizona, a town about an hour south of Tucson. Additional towers could be built at five other areas along the state’s border. 

Elbit Systems, founded in 1967, is the largest supplier of military technology, unmanned combat air vehicles (aka drones), and surveillance infrastructure to the Israeli military. Its attack drones, which the company’s website boasts are “the backbone of the Israel Defense Forces UAS [unmanned aerial system] force,” have been used in lethal attacks on Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

If the House passes the immigration bill currently sitting in Congress, the terms of the Elbit-CBP contract could expand to a $1 billion deal. 

According to Homeland Security News Wire, Elbit also recommended that the Department of Homeland Security "adopt a more complete border security system, which combines radar and electro-optical sensors, unattended ground sensors, unmanned air systems, and manned or unmanned ground vehicles to enhance agents’ flexibility and responsiveness.”

Aaron Cantú is an investigator for the Marijuana Arrest Research Project and an independent journalist based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @aaronmiguel_